Hello little devils, welcome back. This time I’m going in for the “write what you know” school, and right now I know working third shift is one of the strangest things I’m doing. First shift is always a somewhat strange affair, as I always feel I have to get up and get a move on immediately with barely time enough for breakfast, and indeed spend break time snoozing in my car. It also brings an inexplicable feeling of accomplishing something- “I can do it,” because it starts so early. Second shift, on the other hand, is a perfectly comfortable place for me- anything I need done I can usually handle prior to work, and I have time to stay up and enjoy any leisure activities I might desire. But third shift? I don’t understand this animal. There’s still time for necessities and messing around, but it doesn’t seem conducive to my mindset that I can do anything I want all day, then when the evening strikes it’s time to earn a living.
I worked a 12-hour job for Ocean Spray before starting in my new 8-hour position, which was a great deal of time at work, but starting in the afternoon still seemed like it made perfect sense to me. Now, starting work after the sun has gone down, something seems eerily unnatural. Going to bed just when the rest of the world is waking up? In what way does that make sense? And a drive home just to go to bed? Is this the way it’s supposed to be?
However, it does have the highest shift differential pay at my current workplace, and with the Summer movie season being so big it had to start in February, I can’t find a problem with having more money on hand. Maybe this will start to make sense to my poor brain soon. I hope so. We’ll see.
Hello my little devils, welcome back. I’d like to ask a question: what are we looking for when we want great characters? Someone that mirrors our own struggles, and inspires us when they overcome? Or larger than life giants who achieve Herculean feats, providing us with escapism and wonder?
I ask this because I have my own very long series of characters, developed for and from RPG’s, fighting games, or just my imagination running into the night, each time creating a new narrative that, as I have matured, I have begun to notice is created to answer an existential question or let me be outside of my own mountainous insecurities and anxieties- and giving me a new way to face them. From understanding the nature of betrayal to the theme of man vs technology, I invite you to delve into my own inner workings, starting with the personification of the darkest side of my own sense of humor, Domino Calypsy.
Starting off as a concept for a team of five very dark, very unpleasant people in a particularly dark, unpleasant time in my life, I somehow found the crux of balance back to being myself in this wonderfully fun madman who has been described as “a male Harley Quinn.” The idea for his position in the team (lead by an evil queen, who may have been a stand-in for difficulties I was having with my mother) was to be in disguse as a jester, but is in fact a master spy. Obviously all the trappings of being a spy are available to a jester- limber form, great acrobatic skills, able to blend into the surroundings of his natural environment, and carrying a variety of tools for “entertainment.” But as I started to dig deeper, I began to see where a little insanity would spice him up. Starting with the idea fire-blowers need to ingest alcohol for their trick, it began to amuse me further and further that somehow in history we were trusting a drunk person with an open flame- and the means to spread it faster. The very idea of such an unsafe practice began to spiral outward, and my sense of humor started filling in so many blanks until I had created someone who was two sides of the same coin, innocent and yet unhinged, brilliant in terms of tactics and sneaking around, but chaotic in his very nature. Someone who is able to employ “accidents happen” as an excuse for any death around him, and equally prepared to brighten a child’s day. It began to disturb me, and I began to like it- the fascinating dichotomy of a gentle soul housed in a madman’s mind.
Luckily I was able to pull through and put that darkest part of myself behind me, but Domino still resides somewhere, always ready to come out and play, or just find a little mischeif. Even today, he rears his head in my mind, like when I saw a sign for an attraction and thought “sounds like a tourist trap,” Domino was there to answer by asking “Oh! Do you get to beat them?!”
Silly, naughty Domino. The nuances of context will never hold you back, will they?
Is “The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past” the tale of a youthful hero rising to greatness, or is it a story of horrendous trauma from the perspective of a boy forced to become a man by unforgiving and cruel circumstances? It’s time to bust this classic out for a modern, grown-up analysis.
To give a quick synopsis of A Link to the Past, Link is awoken from Princess Zelda talking to him in his sleep, telling him that she has been kidnapped and that the evil Wizard has everyone else under his control. She urges him to come to the Palace to save her, and Link defeats the Wizard after collecting three legendary treasures and the Master Sword, then gets warped into the Dark World where he must defeat seven more monstrosities in order to break the barrier open to Ganon, the true antagonist all along. Link defeats the evil Ganon and restores the Dark World to the purity it once knew, becoming the Hero of Hyrule.
But what exactly is wrong here? Essentially, Link has had the sword thrust upon him, and has been told to go forth and do whatever may be necessary to save Princess Zelda and Hyrule. It seems like a classic greatness-from-nothingness story. What we never stopped to examine is that his uncle has essentially sent a boy, without any formal training, to become a Knight. With a sword and shield being the only things Link has available, he is woefully unprepared and now must suddenly defend himself against grown, presumably trained soldiers of the monarchy who are prepared to kill a young man with fanatical, mind-controlled devotion to their new master. What psychological impact is this having? Fighting the monstrous denizens of the world is one thing; indeed, many of us wouldn’t think twice about killing a rat, snake, or other pest, but the very first enemy faced in the game is a human soldier. Before Link is old enough to shave, he is forced to murder another human being.
What does Link take away from this? Does he find that life is cheap? Or is the entire matter just traumatizing and he only continues his adventure because he believes he has no choice? It doesn’t help that Link has so few friends along the way. The good people of the village are helpful, to be certain, but none of them have any real familiarity with his struggle. They’re only living under the oppressive rule of the Wizard. The only people Link has that he can actually count as friends are the Princess, the old man in the Sanctuary, and the Elder Sahashrala, one of whom is killed by the soldiers a quarter into the game. How would any of us react in his same situation?
Throughout his journey, Link is faced with the bleak reality that his world is a terrible place, where one man can consume all the power, and to fight him would be nearly hopeless. How many of us would give up and accept our fate under the dark rule of Ganon and the wizard? The amount of walking Link has to do would be exhausting alone. What is it that keeps Link going? Is he slavishly devoted to the defense of his home, or does he only want to see the nightmare end so he can finally pull away from everyone and attempt to process the awful experience he’s just had? Either way, it doesn’t indicate a bright future for the Hero of Hyrule.
To conclude, Link has indeed accomplished extraordinary things by the end of his journey, but we must ask at what cost to himself? Whether he was motivated by duty or fear, there must be a lasting psychological impact that will influence him throughout the rest of his life. His relations with Princess Zelda and indeed the remaining people of Hyrule will all be affected. One can only hope that his awful experience, going from a boy living in the woods to a Man with blood on his hands won’t lead him to alienate himself from the people he saved, therefore ostracizing himself from those who would call him Hero.